Why Read Fiction?

On a recent episode of Ask Pastor John, John Piper discussed how he uses technology in his Bible reading, prayer, relationships, and entertainment. While discussing the tools he uses for reading eBooks Piper provided a helpful explanation of why reading fiction is beneficial for us.

I think one of the things that great literature does, fiction included, is that it touches us in places and ways through insights we haven’t had and emotions we haven’t experienced that make us wider, deeper persons when we come to the Word of God itself so that we are more useful in God’s hands and we are more capable of even knowing and experiencing more of him.

I’ve read several novels in recent months that have affected me in the ways described by Piper. I know that everyone’s taste in books is different, but I encourage you to give one of the books listed below a read.

Cry, The Beloved Country
Alan Paton’s 1948 novel about South Africa is one of the more powerful novels I’ve read. Both the prose and story are moving. The story follows Stephen Kumalo, an elderly Zulu Anglican priest, as he searches for his sister and his son Absolom in the crowded and dangerous city of Johannesburg. I especially enjoyed the spiritual friendship that develops between Kumalo and a fellow priest.

The Wingfeather Saga
Humor, mystery, adventure, danger, family bonds, compassion, sorrow, joy, hope, and more are found in Andrew Peterson’s four novel series about the Igiby family. I read this series to my kids. They loved the books. My wife and I loved them too!

Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves
Bertie and Jeeves provided me with some much needed laughter during a rather discouraging time.

Remembering: A Novel
Andy Catlett is a broken man, broken physically and emotionally. As he begins to remember the people and the place from which he fled his brokenness is transformed. Another excellent entry in Wendell Berry’s Port William series of novels. Read it slowly and thoughtfully.